Photos and videos on social media show homes frozen solid as a devastating winter storm continues to batter Buffalo, New York.
Storm Elliott has killed at least 18 people as it swept across the US, cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
The Arctic blast hit the Buffalo area particularly hard, where the death toll is reported to be increased to seven people as gale force winds and snowstorms crippled emergency response and shut down the city’s international airport.
At least 28,000 customers in Erie County, home of Buffalo, were without power as of Sunday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
Mark Poloncarz, the county executive director, said on Twitter that power in Buffalo may not be fully restored until Monday morning.
“There are power lines but the main problem for the widespread blackouts is frozen and non-functional substations,” Poloncarz tweeted early on Christmas Day.
“Erie County, NYS and the City of Buffalo have this substation access as our number one priority.”
Freezing conditions and power outages left people desperate from their homes on Sunday.
But photos and videos shared on social media showed the storm had trapped some homes in ice.
One person posted a video showing several feet of snow preventing their front door from being opened. “Guess I’ll use the window to get outside this morning,” they wrote alongside the clip.
Another Twitter post included photos showing cottages on Lake Erie completely covered in ice after the storm.
Poloncarz on Sunday warned people not to go to Buffalo to try to rescue loved ones.
“If the storm has subsided in your area and there is an open road, do not plan to drive into the city of Buffalo to try to rescue family/friends. Most of Buffalo is still impassable. Just because it looks open near you doesn’t mean you can get very far a few miles away,” he said in a tweet.
The Buffalo National Weather Service office said total snowfall at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 43 inches around 7 a.m. Sunday.
“A heavy lake-effect snow band” would continue to affect parts of Chautauqua, Southern Erie and Wyoming counties Sunday morning, the NWS said in a special weather statement. Snow is falling at up to three inches per hour, accompanied by winds up to 35 miles per hour, the NWS said.
“Exercise caution if you must travel into or through this lake effect snow band,” it added. “Rapid changes in visibility and possibly slippery roads can lead to accidents.”
Poloncarz said Sunday officials are working with President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on a federal disaster declaration.
Hochul deployed the National Guard to Erie County on Friday to assist residents, particularly those who had emergency medical appointments and needed assistance traveling.
“The blinding snow, zero visibility, absolute whiteouts, it could go down as one of the worst in history,” Hochul said during a Christmas Eve briefing on conditions in her hometown of Buffalo. “It is life threatening what is happening as we speak in Buffalo.”
The National Weather Service and officials in Buffalo have been contacted for further comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/buffalo-lake-erie-blizzard-photos-pictures-videos-frozen-houses-1769549 Photos show Buffalo Homes frozen amid extreme blizzard